The CEO of the mining giant Rio Tinto has resigned following the destruction of sacred Aboriginal sites. The CEO has until March to empty his desk and head for the door. He handed in his notice after the anger created by the demolition of 46,000-year-old caves in the Juukan Gorge in Australia. The ancient caves are sacred to indigenous people. Evidence shows they were dwellings as far back as the Stone Age, when humans were developing stone tools. The company was mining for high-grade iron ore. The CEO said there was no doubt the company could have made "better decisions".
The blasts caused international condemnation and tainted Rio Tinto's reputation. The mining took place against the wishes of the traditional owners of the site, indigenous Australians. They accused Rio Tinto of disregarding their culture and traditions to get greater profits. They said: "We cannot and will not allow this type of devastation to occur ever again." The Rio Tinto chair apologised. He said: "What happened at Juukan was wrong and we are determined to ensure that the destruction of a heritage site of such exceptional archaeological and cultural significance never occurs again."